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Congressional Memo: In a Cruel Summer for the G.O.P., ‘Things Are Starting to Feel Incoherent’

NYT

Some Republican senators, like Dean Heller of Nevada, should be gearing up for fights with Democratic challengers next year, but instead are trying to duck primary threats inspired at least in part by a president of their own party.The professional deficits have been topped with dejecting personal tragedies. Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who has spent the better part of the last six months racing around the world defending a generation of American international positions, announced Wednesday night that he had brain cancer. The third-most-powerful House Republican, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, lingers in a hospital bed, recovering from gunshot wounds sustained during a mass assassination attempt this summer.Instead of preparing for a month at home of crowing about the accomplishments of a unified government, Republicans have been diminished to trying to confirm relatively minor nominees — Democrats are stalling them — and getting a spending bill or two passed. They have been forced to cut their August recess short, all because they have nothing particularly positive to celebrate.Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was seen gliding through the Capitol on Thursday, normally loquacious on all matters of party strategy, politics and the possibilities of moon colonization, had nothing to say. He stared straight ahead when asked about Republican woes.“Things are starting to feel incoherent,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, reflecting on the health care efforts, which have turned many Republican senators against one another as efforts to negotiate the future of the Medicaid program have caused large rifts.With no small measure of understatement, Mr. Corker conceded, “There’s just not a lot of progress happening.”PhotoSenator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, on Wednesday. He holds a vulnerable seat in the 2018 midterm elections.Credit Doug Mills/The New York TimesWhile Congressional Republicans’ problems stem largely from the chaos at the White House, many reflect fissures within their party over government spending, social issues, immigration and the role of America in the broader international order.Continue reading the main storyAnd once again, rather than trying to forge bipartisan alliances with moderate Democrats, Republican leaders appear determined to go it alone with one-party bills that must unite the hard right with the center right.For example, a spending bill passed by House appropriators that would provide millions of dollars for Mr

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Congressional Memo: In a Cruel Summer for the G.O.P., ‘Things Are Starting to Feel Incoherent’

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